Bouts from the lower divisions – Aki 2020, Day 3

It’s Day 3. And you know what happens on Day 3? Maezumo starts!

Only, not this time.

For the first time since the current system has been set up (in the ’60s), maezumo will not take place. Normally, maezumo consists of new recruits and rikishi who were off-banzuke and wish to make a comeback. This basho, there has been only one new recruit. Being Mongolian, however, he cannot enter the association until he receives the appropriate visa, which is expected to happen next basho.

This leaves us with off-banzuke rikishi. But only one such rikishi had plans to return this basho – Reon, of Shikihide beya. I have been joking on twitter about the sumo equivalent of “one hand clapping”, but this turned into reality. Reon will be declared “shusse” (passing), and will start next basho at Jonokuchi, without ever having mounted the dohyo this basho (except, perhaps, in the goyji toss? Not sure).

Which leaves us with nothing to do but cover the ranked matches of the day, which is the first day of round 2. Let’s get on with it, then.

Jonidan

Actually, I have nothing interesting in Jonokuchi to show, really, so I’m skipping directly to the next division.

We start with a pair of youngsters. Matsumoto, from Shikoroyama beya, on the left, is only in his second ranked tournament. Onoyama, on the right, belonging to Tatsunami beya, is in his third. They both won their first matches.

Typical size vs. technique match here. As soon as Onoyama gets his hands on Matsumoto’s mawashi, it’s over for the bigger guy. I think it will be fun to continue following Onoyama.

We have already met young Ofukasawa from Naruto beya. He won his first bout. Today he met Adachi, from Tagonoura beya. Adachi is a low division fixture, who has been long enough in sumo to actually also have belonged to (the old) Naruto beya. Fukasawa on the left, Adachi on the right:

Blink and you have missed it!

Sandanme

Two rikishi who lost their first match meet for their second. On the left, we have Dewanoryu, Dewanoumi’s young Mongolian, whose real name is Temuulen, and who has some amateur sumo experience. On the right, Tochimitsuru, from Kasugano beya.

Dewanoryu is a promising lad. Maybe Mitakeumi won’t remain soul sekitori in that heya for long.

Now we move to rikishi who won their first matches. On the left, Amatsu, from Onomatsu beya, a Sandanme regular. On the right, the much reduced Toma, Miyagino beya.

This is typical of how Toma looked in the previous basho. So all is not well yet with the Okinawa youngster.

Next, we have Kotosato, from Sadogatake beya (where else), vs. Marusho, from Naruto beya. Marusho is one of Naruto beya’s leading trio, who was in that memorable three-way playoff between himself, Oshoryu (then Motobayashi) and Sakurai. Other than a setback in March 2020, when he ended 1-6, he usually finishes with a nice kachi-koshi. So Kotosato on the left, Marusho on the right.

I think Kotosato was trying a makikae there, which is not a smart thing to do with your back to the tawara. Marusho immediately goes for the kill.

We have met Hokutenkai already (the young Mongolian with the famous Uncle. Not that one, the other one). He is here on the right, and Asadaimon from Takasago beya is on the left.

Hokutenkai does not match the typical image of Mongolians being mawashi fighters. He is a Japanese high school graduate, and his sumo is Japanese high-school sumo.

Yesterday I told you the sad but hopeful story of Masunoyama and his struggle to return to sekitori status. Let’s see how he has done in his match today. On the left, Tsuyukusa, Otake beya. On the right, Masunoyama, Chiganoura.

Alas, that comeback will be slow to realize. Masunoyama now 1-1.

Makushita

Our first Makushita match is a meet between two we have already seen. On the left, we have Tatsunami’s master-chef-in-training, Kitadaichi, and on the right, Mudoho, the youngest of the Naya clan.

Kitadaichi tries a sidestep. Mudoho not falling for it. Kitadaichi now 1-1. Mudoho 2-0.

Next, young talent Yoshii, on the right, vs. Tsurubayashi from Kise beya.

The young padawan still has much to learn.

Next, rabitless Terasawa vs. Yamatoarashi from Shikoroyama beya. Terasawa on the left.

OK, is that henka also inspired by his rabbit?

Have we had a Hungarian yet? Not this basho? Well, good. We have Masutoo on the left, and Roga the Mongo… Russian on the right. Both suffered losses in their first matches.

Meh. Can’t say much about this match. Roga really didn’t have much control of it, and Masutoo had no concept of where his feet were.

Moving on, we have Nionoumi from Yamahibiki beya, against Murata – the talent who has been recovering after a major kyujo. He is on the right today. Well, you can basically tell which one he is by the heavy braces on his knees.

Not great sumo, but it will do. Murata now 2-0.

The next match again brings two of our previous heros into a direct collision. On the left, we have Kitanowaka, the pride and joy of Hakkaku beya (well, I guess after Hokutofuji and Okinoumi). On the right, Ichiyamamoto, the Abi clone from Nishonoseki beya.

Interesting to see that unlike the original, the clone Ichiyamamoto does have some belt technique and the vestiges of an ottsuke. But Kitanowaka is just better than him at that.

Next up, maybe I should put a “highlight match” marking on this one. On the left, Tokisakae. You know, the up-and-comer from Tokitsukaze beya. On the right, who else but Ura, king of all things pink, and master of the sumo fans’ hearts.

Ahahahaha… that’s so Ura. Yesterday he attempted a heist on his opponent’s arm. Today it’s the opponent’s leg. Ura is definitely not allowing anything to come between him and his reunion with his beloved pink mawashi. Poor Tokisakae sees his own silk road become at least one basho longer, as he is unlikely to win the yusho now, and will need to wait to get into the promotion zone.

Next we have prince Naya, on the left, and Sakigake, Shibatayama’s Mongolian, on the right. They are both in the promotion zone, therefore, life and death at stake.

Naya denies Sakigake any access to his mawashi, and pounds him to the edge. Good work, your highness!

The last match of Makushita today featured Takagenji, the man who needs a mere barest kachi-koshi to return to sekitori status, and Kaisho, who had a short trip to the coveted heaven and is trying to regain it. Both lost their respective first matches.

Now, I asked this on Twitter and I’ll ask it here as well. What’s up with Takagenji? He was touted as a future Yokozuna. He won a yusho in Juryo. He made it to Maegashira 10. And then posted a series of deep make-koshi which seems to just keep . At first it could be easily explained by the scandal he and his twin have been involved in, which ended with the twin out of the sumo world. But come on, it’s been more than a year. The twin has a new job in the RIZIN MMA federation. If he is lonely and demotivated, he could easily have quit and joined him there – I’m sure the head of the federation would love to build a story around the twins. It’s a freer world out there. But he keeps to the heya, keeps out of trouble, and keeps showing up – but doesn’t seem to be able to generate any sumo. Another case of untreated diabetes? An unseen injury, like lower back or neck? Lack of proper attention from his heya master?

He is now 0-2. Two more losses and he may find himself ranked lower than Takakento. That would sting, for sure.

Juryo

  • Nishikifuji looks pretty strong in his debut at Juryo.
  • Chiyonoumi my man pays a visit from Makushita and gives poor Oki his third loss. I guess Oki’s visit to Juryo is going to be short and bitter.
  • Chiyonokuni shows that he doesn’t belong to this division, either, but from the other side. Excellent display of variety.
  • Akua finally salvages a win. Alas, it’s against another of my favorites, Kyokushuho.
  • The match between Kotonowaka and Daiamami makes it look as if the former is more experienced than the latter, and not the other way around.
  • The Isenoumi beya men continue to look like they ate rotten chanko. Which can’t be true because that heya has the best chanko-cho in the world of Sumo.

2 thoughts on “Bouts from the lower divisions – Aki 2020, Day 3

  1. That was an interesting henka-knockout harite combo from Terasawa.

    Quibbling here, but the problem for Tokisakae isn’t that he’s unlikely to get the yusho—it’s that he picked up a loss. Getting to Juryo from outside the promotion zone (but ranked no lower than Ms15) takes a 7-0 regulation record, regardless of the yusho. A 7-0 and a playoff loss does the trick; a 6-1 yusho does not.

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